As we recently discussed in a CAP special report on the Latin American betting market, there are some pretty wide differences between online gambling in South America than North America.

Of course, strictly speaking, Latin America includes large parts of North America, too. Latin America is generally considered to be the general geographic chunk from Mexico down to Argentina — encompassing the lower quarter of North America, and all of Central and South America, too. Caribbean islands like Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) are also on that list, as are some U.S. properties like Puerto Rico.

It’s probably a topic for another article, but some would argue that large segments of the traditional United States itself could arguably be called Latin America. Wide swaths of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and even non-border states have predominantly Latino culture, and speak mostly Spanish. For the purposes of this article, we’re focusing on Latin American countries themselves, and not culture, but in the bigger sense, these concepts and marketing advice could easily translate to parts of the U.S., too.

Within these geographical borders, there are significant differences in Latino culture versus other American markets.

Like North America, Sports are a very big deal in Latin America. Soccer and the World Cup permeate the culture as much as (or more than) the NFL does in North America. Sports betting is also huge, but is mostly offline at this point. A few major books serve the area, but there isn’t nearly the variety or robustness of the U.S. or Europe.

Casino gambling and online poker are popular and becoming more so, though. Here’s the breakdown: Latin America consists of 33 countries and about 569 million people — and they dedicate “a large proportion of their income to gambling,” per a recent Research and Markets report, which adds that “each inhabitant in this region spends US$250 a year,” on gambling.

The demand is there, then. For affiliates interested in expanding into the Latin American market, here are a few special points to keep in mind:

Secret #1: More conferences and networking. Businesses are just starting to get a grasp on how primed the Latin American market is for online gambling. To encourage more operators to the area, as well as to build more effective online gambling business networks in the region, a number of Latin American conferences have been announced in recent years.

The Caribbean Gaming Show and Conference 2011 and EGR’s Power LatAm are two of the bigger, more recent such conferences, and are easily attended from U.S.-based affiliates looking to learn more about the Latino markets.

Secret #2: Regulations are (probably) on the way. Like most of the rest of the world, Latin American governments are also busy debating regulations to license online gambling. But those initiatives don’t get nearly as much press as similar movement in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Costa Rica is Latin America’s online gambling tech and business headquarters — that’s no secret. But what is less-known is that online gambling itself hasn’t yet permeated this market, where regulations are still in flux. A recent report stated that Costa Rica’s online gambling companies generate $14.5 billion in yearly revenue, but, because of the absence of regulation or licensing, citizens aren’t as robust online gamblers as might be expected.

“It is believed that if both the legal and illegal gaming activities were combined in Central and South America, it is likely that the region would generate over $150 billion a year,” the recent Research and Markets report on Costa Rica explains. “The twelve principle gambling countries in this region generate combined revenues of over US$33 billion.”

Secret #3: Mexico is bigger than Costa Rica. (And so is Brazil.) Given Costa Rica’s status as an online gambling tech hub, as explained above, it might be a little surprising to realize that it actually ranks behind Mexico and Brazil on the list of biggest Latin American online gambling markets.

That’s new data. And potentially controversial: A separate report named Costa Rica as the number one online gambling market in Latin America, just a year ago.

Either way, the data shows that the Mexican online gambling market is on the rise. Mexico’s proximity to the U.S., in terms of geography and culture, gives it even more marketing appeal.

Plus, many casino affiliate programs — included many CAP Listed Programs — allow gamblers from Mexico. (Most other Latin American nations are generally not accepted.) To see what CAP Listed Program is accessible to Mexican residents, check out the “Program Details” tab, such as Fortune Affiliates or 32Red, both of which accept Mexican gamblers.

Further reading
Get more info on online gambling and betting in the Latin American market here.

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